When you have Peyton Manning as your quarterback it’s a pretty easy life at wide receiver. When you leave the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback and replace him with a rookie who is coming off of a subpar 2013 season, life at receiver is a little more difficult.
During the offseason, the New York Jets made a giant splash and inked former Denver Bronco Eric Decker to a five-year, $36.25 million contract. The deal makes sense in a lot of ways for both Decker and the Jets. For Decker, he gets paid and instantly becomes the top go-to guy for the Jets at wide receiver, and for the Jets, they fill a giant hole at the position.
Last season Decker was overshadowed by Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas and he managed to put up 1,288 and 11 TDs. That was one heck of an offense now looking back on it. There is one inevitable question that will follow Decker to New York as he changes jerseys for the 2014 season.
Is Eric Decker a product of Peyton Manning or is Eric Decker a top receiver in the league on his own?
I think that it’s a mix of both, but I have to give Decker a little more credit for the season that he had than most are willing to. Manning is Manning. He made Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon great receivers in the league, but is Decker the Garcon-breed type receiver or is he more of a Collie?
When Garcon left the Colts for the Washington Redskins, he proved to be a top receiver in the league, but when Manning left Collie, he became a No. 4 or No. 5 receiver.
Don’t forget Decker was a solid receiver in 2011 when the Broncos turned to Tim Tebow under center. He finished with eight touchdowns and 612 receiving yards, which is good for a No 2. receiver, but not a No. 1.
In 2012, when the great Manning took over, his stats jetted up — no pun intended — to No 1. status with 1,064 receiving yards and 13 scores. My prediction for the 2014 version of Eric Decker is 800 receiving yards and 11 TDs. More yards would be a plus, but in order for the Jets to be successful, they need to establish the run to set up the pass and not the other way around. I think that Decker will prove to be worth his contract once he takes the field for the Jets.